Being tied with Arkansas is almost never a good thing. So here's the bad news: Missouri and Arkansas are tied for seventh-worst in the nation for number of women killed by a husband, boyfriend or other "intimate" partner, according to a recently published report by the Violence Policy Center.
Both states saw 52 women murdered by men in 2008 (the most recent year for which complete, nationwide statistics were available). In Missouri, 96 percent of the female victims knew the men who killed them. Sixty-eight percent of victims were killed by husbands, exes or boyfriends. Sixty-three percent were murdered with guns. Now, the good news -- for KCMO, at least.
The City Prosecutor's Office announced yesterday that its Domestic Violence Court received a $230,409 grant from the Department of Justice. Part of the grant money will go toward a 36-month project that involves hiring a Domestic Violence Offender Accountability Coordinator, who will invent and manage a coordinated system to track the city's most violent offenders.
That's good for the women of Kansas City. Meanwhile, Attorney General Chris Koster's task force on domestic violence last month discussed the ways in which rural women are at-risk, given that most resources for victims of domestic violence are located in urban areas. More than half of Missouri's rural counties do not have an advocate within the court system to help those trying to extricate themselves from abusive households, making it harder for victims to escape for good.
The task force heard from advocates who want to see legislators enact a state version of the federal law that bans domestic violence offenders from owning guns. Missouri is one of a dwindling number of states that haven't passed such restrictions on gun ownership. But the state lawmakers who were present for task force meetings said fat chance to that idea.
Your move, Arkansas.